In the next two weeks, we’ll continue to close the door on the 2013 season. Every Big 12 team suffered at least one loss during the regular season and losses can be as beneficial as wins. In this team-by-team series, we’ll take a look at the best loss of the season for each Big 12 team, including what happened and why it matters.
On Tuesday, we focus on Oklahoma.
Best loss: 36-20 against Texas in the Red River Rivalry, in a game the Sooners were expected to cruise to victory.
What happened: The Sooners were dominated. It’s just that simple. The Longhorns had two running backs run for more than 100 yards in Johnathan Gray (123) and Malcolm Brown (120) and quarterback Case McCoy made plays when he needed to make plays. Most importantly, Texas' defense, which entered the game as one of the laughingstocks of the Big 12 after a horrible nonconference showing, shut down OU’s offense on third down (2 of 13) and stuffed the Sooners’ running game (130 yards, 3.9 yards per carry).
Why it was helpful: The loss humbled the Sooners. They entered the game as the nation’s No. 12 team with victories over Notre Dame and TCU and an eye on inserting themselves into the BCS title chase. Sixty minutes at the Cotton Bowl changed all of that.
And the Sooners were better for it.
The loss showed OU how important its focus and preparation was and how thin the line between winning and losing can be. If the Sooners hadn’t lost to Texas, they probably wouldn’t have had the competitive resolve that emerged in wins over Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Alabama. The Red River Rivalry loss forced the Sooners to renew their focus and dug out their competitive nature as it ignited doubts about the Sooners' chances to win double-digit games in 2013.
Revealing stat: 19.1 average yards per drive. The Sooners had 12 drives and averaged 19.1 yards per drive, their worst average in 2013 and a sign of the dominance of Texas' defense. Their season average was 33.2 yards per drive.
Quote of note: “We just needed to be more physical at the line of scrimmage and didn't do that. They out-executed us and we were driven back. That's pretty much it.” -- OU defensive lineman Chuka Ndulue.